In Exhibition, News

Kansas City, MO, July 15, 2021: Premiering on Friday, July 30, Charlotte Street Foundation presents Aftermaths, a group exhibition featuring artists with attachments to Latin America and the Arab world who engage photographic and filmic archives in order to unfurl the complexity of history and its visual records. Invested in postcolonial politics and ongoing struggles for liberation, the projects by Astro Escudero (Chicago, IL), Rami George (Philadelphia, PA), Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez (Minneapolis, MN), and Sanaz Sohrabi (Montreal/Chicago, IL) help us understand how images have been used both to suppress and to bolster people’s freedom and autonomy.

Sanaz Sohrabi, Film still from One Image, Two Acts, title in Farsi: Yek Tasveer, Do Bardasht, (DCP, 5.1), 44:38 minutes, Canada (Québec), Germany, United States, Iran, 2020

The visual regimes of photography and film have long been accomplices to imperialist enterprises and state sanctioned-violence in rewriting the terms and tellings of history itself. Images, still or moving, instruct us as much as they help us remember, and it is in this duality that histories of dissent and oppression can be read simultaneously. Curated by Jameson Paige (Philadelphia, PA), Aftermaths seeks to identify the ambiguity and elusiveness of history’s record, honoring that different archives present often conflicting orientations to history, and that these conflicts can be charted across the archival dichotomies of intimate and official; image and material; memory and record. The included artist projects, many of which are ongoing, are rooted in the after effects of specific events in history—for example the Lebanese Civil War, the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, the nationalization of oil in Iran—and explore how the past tumbles into the present causing all types of ripples. Each artist moves through their project’s contexts with specificity, but between them is a threaded interest in how visual regimes play an integral role in shaping history as it happens, and bending it as time goes on.

Astro Escudero directly engages the dichotomy of image and material forms of remembering, using coffee, bedsheets, and textbooks to constellate history, gender, and coloniality in Ecuador. Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez confronts real and fictional tellings of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. His work examines how global politics are scaled to culturally-specific media—such as Hollywood films—mounting skewed and inaccurate restagings of history in the process. Rami George collates family photographs and audio visual narratives that connect varied experiences of the civil war in Lebanon, compressing them into a fragmented whole. Their approach materializes memory’s inability to be linear and how cultural inheritance is strained across geographical and temporal distance. Sanaz Sohrabi traces the complex socio-cultural shifts caused by Western oil extraction in the Middle East and the similar trajectories of other petro-states across the world. Her project poetically intertwines narratives of political independence, raw material sovereignty, coloniality, and revolution, all to make clear that futurity is a series of starts and stops, and looks extraordinarily different depending on who has drawn the schematic.

Rami George, Untitled (before, during, after). (Detail). 2018. Lumber, plastic sheeting, reproduced family photos, concrete blocks. Photography by Patrick Dandy.

Each artist will be visiting Kansas City in anticipation of the exhibition opening at CSF Gallery happening July 30 at 6:00-9:00 PM. Paige states,

“Bringing these artists together is a tremendous privilege because their practices illuminate imperialist histories whose aesthetic implications are underexplored. Additionally, given the regalvanization of an eye on settler colonialism in Palestine, there is a prescient timeliness to these projects being exhibited now as they fill out a larger context. Through aesthetic intervention, these artists are building consciousness and solidarity across global contexts for reckoning with the fact that we are still reliving these problematic pasts today, and that there is still little resolution looking into the future.”

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is from Charlotte Street Foundation. Aftermaths was a program selected through Charlotte Street’s annual Open Call.

For more information about the exhibition, visit our website, or contact Hope-Lian Vinson, Marketing + Outreach Manager, at hope@charlottestreet.org or (210) 862-44442 (cell).

COMPANION PUBLICATION

In addition to the exhibition, a companion publication of the same title consisting of contributions from artists, curators, and writers will be available throughout the show’s duration. The publication charts concerns embedded in the exhibition, and pushes them into different contexts and applications such as displacement, translation, memory, and language. Contributions are from Mirene Arsanios (New York, NY), Sharmyn Cruz Rivera (Amsterdam), Juan Orrantia (Johannesburg), Isabel Casso (Chicago), Rodrigo Carazas Portal (Kansas City, MO), and Jameson Paige (Philadelphia, PA).

PUBLIC PROGRAM DETAILS

Aftermaths Pre-Show Talk | Friday, July 30th at 5:00 PM at CSF Gallery (3333 Wyoming)
Join artists in casual conversation about their work during the Aftermaths pre-show where visitors can see the exhibition ahead of the 6:00-9:00 PM opening. Masks required upon entry.

Aftermaths: Artists in Conversation” | Tuesday, August 17th at 6:00 PM CST on ZOOM
Moderated by Chicago-based art historian Daniel Quiles, the artists from the exhibition will engage in a conversation that explores how their projects included in Aftermaths are a part of larger concerns and fit into the whole of their artistic practices. RSVP for this free event HERE.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE STREET

Charlotte Street centers Kansas City’s most forward-thinking visual artists, writers, and performers—acting as the primary incubator, provocateur, and connector for the region’s contemporary arts community, and its leading advocate on the national stage. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $1.1 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit www.charlottestreet.org.

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You can read the press release in PDF format here.

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